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Salt Lake County mayoral race is back to politics

Hard as it may be to believe, the Salt Lake County mayor's race is at long last about politics.

No judges getting involved, no candidates withdrawing, no whiplash resulting from candidates getting on, then off, then on the ballot — just old-fashioned door-to-door, leaflets-and-door-hangers, put-your-ad-on-the-airwaves political campaigning.

"It's nice," Democratic candidate Peter Corroon said Friday. "I think we've finally reached that point where (from a legal standpoint) nothing's going to happen."

"This is wonderful," Republican candidate Ellis Ivory said. "So many of our campaign meetings have been, 'What if?' "

Reversing a 3rd District judge, the Utah Supreme Court ruled Thursday that erstwhile write-in candidate Ivory could go on the ballot as the GOP candidate. Democrat leaders, who brought the suit, and independent candidate Merrill Cook said they will bring no more legal challenges on the issue.

Corroon, who disapproved of the legal maneuvering from the first, is feeling the effects of campaigning for more than seven months — literally.

"It had been raining and it was wet, and when I was walking my feet felt wet," he said Friday. "I looked down at my shoes, and I have actually worn through them."

Clearly, the old saw about using up shoe leather applies literally in Corroon's case.

For his part, instead of the usual honk-and-waves that candidates often engage in during the last days of the campaign, Ivory has been riding around to shopping centers and the like in his "pencil bus" — an anachronism that people can vote for him by simply punching his name instead of writing him in — as sort of a mobile honk-and-wave.

"Instead of me being on the street I'm on the bus," he said. "People can come into the bus. They like that, with the wet weather."

Ivory could blow his own bus horn: In the race less than a month, he is closing in on Corroon in recent polls.

University of Utah political science professor Tim Chambless said while Corroon has few negatives, many people feel like they don't know him well, despite his months-long full-time campaign.

"Hopefully, they're saying the same thing about Ellis Ivory," Corroon responded. The Democrat has frequently pointed out that Ivory has spent one-seventh the time he has in the race.

In fact, a new Corroon radio ad ends with a woman saying, "Trusted leadership doesn't come at the last minute," and otherwise pointing out the difference in time spent articulating stands on the issues.

Ivory's response: "If you don't know me, ask people who know me." Friday, Ivory cut a new radio ad with that philosophy in mind, an ad in which longtime friend Rick Warner and Phyllis Trimble, Ivory's secretary of 27 years, among others, extol his virtues.

Friday found Cook distributing thousands of new fliers in an attempt to get his generally low numbers up.

"There's a chance," he said. "I'll be honest: It's a small chance. But it's a realistic chance."


E-mail: aedwards@desnews.com